Planning Downtime: Family Rest and Play Days

Family Downtime

As Americans, we are raised with a work ethic that can drive us to madness. We are taught that our value and worth are measured by how much we earn, how exhausted we are, and how we measure up to other families.

Lately, we have seen families start to schedule downtime in the form of family rest and play days. And we couldn’t agree more.

The G Word

It’s one thing to say you’re going to start including more family downtime but it’s quite another thing to actually do it. And do it without guilt.

The G word is the toughest part of making a commitment to downtime. Kids sometimes have busier schedules than their parents and trying to make sure they get to participate in everything is tough.

Likewise, Mom and Dad may have the guilt of taking time off from work because there is a project due or a case that needs to be handled.

How to Do It

This may sound obvious but just do it.

Yank out the calendar, find out when the kids have sports events or other commitments, and schedule a series of monthly family downtime days. And sometimes it’s fun to just be spontaneous and do a family fun day in the middle of the week.

Don’t worry about school or work. Just play.

Re-Learning the Value of Just Being

In our race to be the best, we have lost the joy of simply being. Cell phones and tablets have replaced conversations and there is a need to always be doing something.


Take the family on a picnic to a favorite spot. Have one cell phone in case of emergencies but no others. Bring the dog. Play like he does.

And if you feel sleepy in the middle of the day, curl up and snooze.

If you’re at the beach, take a stroll and see how many shells you all can collect for a piece of art you can work on later.

At a park? Take some binoculars and see how many birds you can find and name.

Consequences: What to Do If Your Kid Gets Cut for Missing Practice

This is a huge deal in today’s competitive sports. It’s a way the coach blackmails your child emotionally. They threaten to take away their sense of belonging by throwing down an ultimatum.

If this happens during your family downtime and it upsets your child, talk to them about the importance of that sport. Is it something they really love as opposed to feeling obligated to do because of peer pressure or the pressure to get a scholarship to a good college?

For family downtime to work effectively, everyone must participate. Obviously, if a member of the family is sick then any plans made to go out may be dashed but that doesn’t mean you have to give up your day. Do things inside that includes the person who is recuperating like playing a board game.

Rest and play are critical components for a healthy and happy life. Plan family downtime and make some new memories without being on vacation to do it.

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